An innovative partnership to benefit Vermont and Vermonters.
Providing more nature education opportunities in Vermont State Parks.
Natural Connections is an innovative public-private partnership designed to benefit Vermont's state parks and the people who visit them. Working together, Vermont Parks Forever, Vermont State Parks, and ECHO, Leahy Center for Lake Champlain are redesigning and restoring nature centers to enhance educational opportunities across the state park system.
This dynamic partnership will tell the story of human relationships with Vermont’s natural resources and celebrate the complexity and beauty of the state’s landscape. By doing so, it will foster responsible stewardship, and help park visitors make beneficial life-long connections to the natural world.
Statewide Nature Education Efforts
Vermont Parks Forever has provided nature interpretation funds used to purchase catamount teaching kits. Vermont State Park interpreters, in partnership with the Vermont History Museum, delivered hands-on training on the cultural and natural history of catamounts in Vermont. The catamount materials included replica skulls, replica furs, replica claws and replica scat. The hands-on elements captivated park visitors and launched tens of thousands of conversations around the cultural history of catamounts and the changes in Vermont’s landscape over time. Vermont State Parks’ partnership with the Vermont History Museum drove both park visitation and museum visitation.
Additionally, nature interpretation funds provided by Vermont Parks Forever were dedicated to purchasing licensure for Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Raven software. The interactive bioacoustics software is used for interactive displays in nature centers and in the field with nature interpreters. The Raven software will be used to create mobile interactive exhibits with sound visualization to share information about bird songs and other sounds of the forest. Future funding will be dedicated to bring this technology to several places around the state.
Groton Nature Center
Groton State Forest is home to seven Vermont State Parks. Working together with Vermont Parks Forever, park staff and ECHO, Leahy Center for Lake Champlain are designing interactive learning opportunities highlighting Groton’s geology and its natural and cultural history.
Groton’s nature center was the first to be redesigned and opened June 2023!